From Press staff reports

Kennedy Johnson scored 11 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter as fifth-seeded Sacred Heart High School knocked off fourth-seeded Middle Township 51-48 in the opening round of the Cape-Atlantic League girls basketball tournament Friday.

Defending champion Sacred Heart (18-5) bounced Middle from the tournament for the second straight season.

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Mandy Buirch and Ciani Carter each had five points in the first half as the Lions jumped out to a 13-4 lead. Sacred Heart extended that lead to 10 at the break.

Olivia Schwartz and Lauryn Fields combined for 18 of Middle Township's 22 third-quarter points to cut the deficit to three. Schwartz had 11 of her team-high 20 points in that quarter, including three 3-pointers. Fields finished with 14 points and Lauren Legler 12 for the Panthers.

Sacred Heart will face top-seeded Ocean City, the No. 6 team in The Press Elite 11, in a semifinal Wednesday at St. Augustine Prep. The game is a rematch of last year's final.

"Tonight was a great win for our team and our school," Sacred Heart coach Steve DiPatri said in an email. "Our kids stepped up and executed our game plan and handled important in-game adjustments necessary to beat a quality team like Middle in its own gym."

Sacred Heart 13 10 15 13-51

Middle Township 4 9 22 13-48

SH-Buirch 3 2-3 10, Carter 2 0-0 5, Smith 3 0-0 6, Ferrucci 3 0-0 8, Johnson 9 4-6 22. Totals-20 6-9 51.

MT-Peterson 1 0-0 2, McCann 0 0-2 0, Fields 4 4-6 14, Legler 5 2-3 12, Schwartz 8 0-2 20. Totals-18 6-13 48.

3-pointers-Ferrucci (2), Buirch (2), Carter SH; Schwartz (4), Fields (2) MT.

Records-S.H. 18-5, Middle 15-8.

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